Where to find the cheapest lobster: Boston's Irish pubs

The Green Dragon Tavern in Boston's Blackstone Block historic district
The Green Dragon Tavern in Boston's Blackstone Block historic district

Lobster hasn’t always been considered a delicacy – during the 17th and 18th centuries it was handed out as charity to the poor during times of surfeit, and even became a derogatory term for the red-coated British troops (a.k.a. the “lobsterbacks”) when they occupied Boston. Nowadays, however, these crustaceans have considerably risen in stature – not to mention price – and are usually only saved for special occasions. But no one can visit this city without sampling our regional specialty, so where do you go to find the cheapest lobster in Boston? To the pubs!

Boston’s Irish pubs will oftentimes post “Lobster Specials” when the market price is down, so keep an eye out for these temporary $10 and $15 deals on their sandwich boards (and if you’re wondering if a $10 lobster can be as good as a $35 one, the answer is a resounding yes). Here are four pubs to visit when lobster prices are down (or you're just in the mood for some good stout):

The Purple Shamrock - This is the largest Irish pub in Blackstone Block, a historical district considered to be the city's oldest commercial block. By day it serves typical pub fare geared towards tourists (clam chowder, burgers, hearty pastas) and by night its DJ and karaoke attracts a young college crowd for pop music and dancing. Note that it's large enough so that you usually do not have to wait for a table, and therefore good for large parties looking for a hearty lunch! 1 Union Street

Hennessey's Irish Pub - Just a little further north on Union Street is Hennessey's, which has won several awards as the Best Irish Bar in Boston. As an added incentive, most nights they offer live music - but the crowd can get fairly large so keep that in mind if you plan on showing up later in the evening. 25 Union Street

Paddy O's - This claims to be the first 'Super Pub' in Boston...although I'm not quite sure what that means. All the furniture is made in Ireland, however, which adds an authentic touch, and they offer more typical Irish fare than their neighbors (try the "Puddy Pies") with an emphasis on seafood. 33 Union Street

The Green Dragon Tavern - Located next to the famous Union Oyster House, this is the place to go for a serious dose of history with your food. The tavern was established in 1654, and was supposedly a favorite haunt of Paul Revere and John Hancock during the Revolutionary War era. Daniel Webster has confirmed that it was here than plans for the invasion of Lexington and Concord were overheard, thus sparking Revere's famous ride. 11 Marshall Street

All these pubs are an easy walk from the Millennium Bostonian, a few blocks away on North Street.

- Alan Maltzman of BostonCityWalks.com

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